How soundscapes can be used as a powerful tool for us to embark on immersive healing journeys through resonance with the water in our bodies.
Recently I was working on a project called ‘Ripples’. A collaboration between a Dutch photography agency and a Slovenian Photography Gallery led to an exhibition about water, how it connects us, how it is the origin of life, cause of joy and conflict and movement of whole tribes of people or the source of rituals like baptism, purification, worship of Gods and deities connected to water by sailors, or those who work the fields and need rain.
It was my job to create soundscapes to accompany different themes related to water. Soundscapes are the collective sounds of an aural environment and can significantly influence our emotions, wellbeing, health, and overall experience. The 'Ripples' exhibition shows how water is our origin, how water cause conflict, it shows photographs picturing the joy water gives, how it affects human life and how it is used in rituals amongst others. There is a whole journey to be undertaken where the visitor is led through these different stages learning about water through photos, external images, while listening to sounds and music, creating an inner experience matching the outer experience of the photographs. In sound healing the effect of sound on water is often highlighted. This process of creation of these different soundscapes made me reflect on water again and on how sound affects it. What exactly is this relationship between sound, water and our human bodies? Water is essential for our survival.
Let's start with some facts. Did you know that water makes up about sixty percent of our human body? Forty five percent of it being in our cells alone. We know that sound plays a crucial role in our communication and perception of the world. However, the relationship between water and sound goes beyond just their coexistence within our bodies.
Sound has a profound impact on water, affecting its behaviour and structure in various ways. There is this fascinating interplay between water and sound, and exploring how sound affects the water in our bodies, the role of cymatics and geometric patterns in water and cells, and how sound is being used in modern medicine to grow heart tissue, is a big part of why I work as a musician and sound therapist and why I believe sound is the healing modality of the future.
The Effect of Sound on Water in Our Bodies
Water is a highly responsive substance, and sound waves can have a significant impact on it. We know our bodies are filled with water-based fluids, think of our blood, lymph, and our inter- and intra-cellular fluid. Sound waves can cause these fluids to move, producing (pressure) waves that can affect our health and well-being. By using harmonics and specific frequencies and intensities, sound can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation, leading to a range of health benefits. Some of these benefits include reducing pain and swelling, improving joint mobility, and reducing stress and anxiety. In a sound healing session, various soundscapes are created using instruments such as singing bowls, chimes, gongs, and drums. The sounds produced are not only calming but also vibrate at frequencies that resonate with different parts of the body, creating a healing effect. The sounds also create an environment of deep relaxation and meditative state, allowing the mind and body to release stress and tension.
Cymatics and Geometric Patterns in Water and Cells
Cymatics is the study of the effects of sound on matter, including water. When sound waves are introduced to water, they cause the water to form complex patterns and shapes, creating beautiful and intricate geometric designs that look like mandalas. These designs are often referred to as 'cymatic patterns' and can reveal much about the underlying principles of sound and the nature of water. The same principles apply to the cells within our bodies, which as we learned are also composed largely of water. When sound waves are introduced to cells, they can cause the cells to move and change shape, leading to changes in the way they function. This has led to some exciting developments in the field of medicine, with researchers exploring the use of sound to promote cellular health and repair.
Sound in Modern Medicine: Growing Heart Tissue
To me, one of the most exciting applications of sound in modern medicine is the use of sound waves to grow heart tissue. By exposing cells to specific frequencies and intensities of sound, researchers have found that they can stimulate the cells to divide and grow, leading to the formation of new tissue. This approach has shown promise in early studies and is being actively researched as a potential treatment for heart disease. In modern medicine, sound can be used to destroy as well. Histotripsy is a therapeutic method that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to non-invasively treat soft tissue disorders and diseases. It utilizes high-frequency sound waves to produce mechanical pressure waves that causes controlled destruction of targeted tissues. Spanda is a Sanskrit word that refers to the pulsation or vibration of the universe. It is seen as the underlying pulse or rhythm that animates everything in creation, from the smallest particles to the largest structures. In this context, Spanda is often considered a manifestation of the divine and a source of creation and inspiration. It is the source of all movement, action, and creativity. I have this intuitive feeling that the geometric patterns we see in the world of things and the mathematical principles that underlie these are the result of sound and in it lies the key to mastering matter.
Whether it's through the intricate patterns formed by sound waves in water and other mediums or the effects of sound on our health, the interplay between water and sound is truly fascinating and holds great promise for the future. Soundscapes
This brings me back to soundscapes, the collective sounds of an environment, which can, as we learned, significantly influence our emotions, wellbeing, health, and overall experience. The sounds we encounter daily can evoke different feelings, such as peace from the sound of crashing waves, or annoyance from a loud car horn. Similarly, music can have a strong effect on our emotions, with classical music being linked to calmness or heavy metal to anger or excitement.
Nature's soundscapes, such as bird songs and waterfalls, also have a calming effect on our minds and bodies, reducing stress and anxiety. Likewise, excessive noise pollution, like constant traffic noise or construction work, can lead to chronic stress, sleep disturbances, and negative impacts on physical health, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones.
A sound healing experience, harnesses the power of soundscapes to create a calming and rejuvenating atmosphere. Various soundscapes can be created using instruments such as singing bowls, chimes, gongs, monochords and drums. The sounds produced are not only calming but also vibrate at frequencies that resonate with different parts of the body, creating a healing effect. In theatre and movies, soundscapes are used to immerse the audience into the world of the performance, creating a more realistic and believable experience. Soundscapes can also be used in art installations, where they serve as an integral part of the overall experience. For example, a sound installation in a museum may feature the sounds of a bustling city or the sounds of nature, providing a sensory experience for visitors. In performance art, soundscapes can be used to create an atmosphere of tension or relaxation, or to tell a story through sound alone. Soundscapes have played an important role in art and have the ability to evoke emotions, create atmosphere, and convey messages in a unique and powerful way. Soundscapes are truly a powerful tool to help us embark on healing and immersive journeys and this all because sound resonates with the water in our bodies.